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The Largest Cyberattack In History May Happen Within 6 Months, An Analyst Warns

“The coronavirus just ripped open every company’s virtual defenses.”

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  • Stephen McBride, an investor and analyst, warned about the “largest cyberattack ever” in history which he says will happen within the next six months.
  • In his Forbes column, he pointed out that since the coronavirus broke out worldwide, more people and companies are working from home and connected to a network that hackers can easily infiltrate.
  • “The more devices connected to a network, the larger its attack surface grows, making it easier for hackers to infiltrate the network,” McBride said.

Stephen McBride, a professional investor and RiskHedge chief analyst, warned that a largest cyberattack “in history” may happen in the next six months, calling all companies to set-up secure systems for employees working from home.

As soon as the novel coronavirus broke out worldwide, majority of big companies have shifted from office-based operations to work-from-home arrangements.

McBride said firms only had days or weeks to prepare, which made it hard for them to set-up secure systems or provide dedicated work laptops to their employees. For the most part, those working remotely from home are using their personal laptops on “unsecured home internet connections” when accessing work files.

“This is a dream come true for cyber criminals. Hackers only need to gain access through one entry point to seize control of a whole network,” McBride wrote in Forbes.

Once hackers are able to infiltrate the whole network, they can steal confidential data or even lock you out of the network, he warned.

In 2011, America’s largest defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced that they were victimized by hackers who infiltrated their remote workers’ network system.

McBride pointed out that if hackers can infiltrate the U.S. defense data through a contractor, it would be much easier for crooks to take over remote workers’ systems.

“The coronavirus just ripped open every company’s virtual defenses,” McBride said.

The tech expert also cited that before the COVID-19 pandemic, employees who worked under a remote-working scheme were usually given special work laptops with highly secured network system.

Case in point, his friend, who works for Irish tax authorities was provided a dedicated work laptop and a separate secure wi-fi connection. That worker needed to go through multiple security barriers to even get past the welcome screen, or unlock work files using a USB security stick.

If hackers wanted to infiltrate the network, they will have a difficult time penetrating multiple levels of security.

McBride, whose work is to hunt for under-the-radar “disruptive companies, remarked that in the past couple of months since the coronavirus pandemic, hackers have targeted breaching the United States health department and the World Health Organization.

Based on the data of cyber intelligence firm CYFIRMA, cyberthreats and hacking skyrocketed to 600% between February and March.

“I hope I’m dead wrong predicting that we’re about to see the biggest cyberattack in history. None of us want to see a big company or government taken down. Especially not when the world is fighting a deadly pandemic,” McBride stressed.

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